Neat-O: VLAN, Roaming Wi-Fi Systems Keep Things Flowing

Rugged, enterprise-grade network keep Crestron automated home with 60 keypads, 30 touchscreen devices, dedicated home theater and more running smoothly.

Five centralized racks, including one dedicated to a Pakedge network, are outfitted for this Crestron-automated home. Integrated Electronics also installed a corporate T1 link and router and a video conferencing system through the network.
Arlen Schweiger · September 26, 2012

This new home on Lake Martin in Alabama was built with automation of pretty much everything in mind, inside and outside. The usual suspects such as lighting, security and climate control are just the beginning, with Crestron commanding items from towel warmers and the Jacuzzi to waterfall pumps, to A/V that includes displays folding down from ceiling panels and revealing behind motorized artwork.

Lighting control extends from one side of the property to the other, and even down underwater so that people can view fish gathering around the lakefront ledges.

The home also features a high-performance, dedicated home theater with a 154-inch Stewart Filmscreen acoustically transparent screen can display content from 2.35:1 CinemaScope to multi-window images (perfect for football season).

With more than 60 keypads and 30 touchscreen devices, myriad other remotes and Apple products providing means of control for this residence, the biggest concern for Powder Springs, Ga.-based Integrated Electronics was that it all runs smoothly and without fail.

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“You name it, it was automated on this project,” says Integrated Electronics president Jeff Braddock. “All of its audio and video sources are centrally located and distributed via Digital Media and Sonnex. Five full-sized floor racks house all the centralized equipment. Power is brought in as 240V and converted through power conditioning transformers to supply 120V to the racks, providing a local isolated grounding system.”

There’s also a slideout rack in the theater, which features a SIM2 projector, Genelec speakers and Crestron Procise surround processing to go with goodies such as a fiber-optic star ceiling.

But Braddock emphasizes that perhaps the key to the high-tech operation is the rugged, enterprise-grade networking backbone, which allows the clients and their guests to enjoy flawless usage. One of the five centralized racks is dedicated to the network system.

“Due to the steady migration to Ethernet control and the extensive use of Crestron products, a robust network was necessary to maintain reliable communications among the equipment,” Braddock explains. “We opted to use a virtual LAN system, which eliminates broadcast traffic across VLANs. This keeps Crestron equipment together on its own dedicated switches and does the same for other systems.”

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That goes for wired and wireless gear employed in the extensive project. “We felt this same system was needed in the wireless realm due to so many Crestron Wi-Fi devices,” Braddock continues. “Pakedge Devices accomplished this with a Roaming Wi-Fi system. It broadcasts individual VLANs by separate SSIDs and simultaneously handles A, B, G and N wireless devices at their respective speeds. This allows for secure connections to devices that need them, and guest laptops can get online without having access to the other VLANs. This also allows touchpanels to roam from one WAP to another without ever knowing it made a switch.”

Congratulations to Jeff Braddock for a Neat-O! installation. We’re looking for over-the-top projects. Cool, unique, tidy or meticulous, share your best work with our readers. E-mail your submissions, with high-resolution images, to managing editor Arlen Schweiger at

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  About the Author

Arlen Schweiger is managing editor of CE Pro, Commercial Integrator and Security Sales & Integration magazines. Arlen contributes installation features, business profiles, manufacturer news and product reviews. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Arlen at

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  Article Topics

Security · News · Crestron · East · Home Theater · Neat-O · Networking · All Topics
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